By Nick Carey and Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co on Tuesday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, driven mostly by highly lucrative pickup truck sales in the U.S. market and lifted in part by revaluations of shares it holds in ride-hailing company Lyft Inc and Peugeot SA.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker’s results came despite a 7 percent decline in U.S. new-vehicle sales in the first quarter, in which its pickup trucks were outsold by smaller rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
The higher profit also came despite a drop in sales in China of almost 20 percent and a corresponding decline in profit of 37 percent.
The company also had around four months supply of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck on the ground as of the beginning of April, a high level in a U.S. auto market that overall is expected to decline in 2019.
GM said in a statement it was “bullish” on pickup truck sales for the rest of 2019 as more versions of its new Silverado hit dealer showrooms and its heavy-duty trucks launch in the second half of the year.
GM reported a first-quarter net profit of $2.2 billion (£1.6 billion), or $1.48 per share, up from $1.05 billion, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-items, the company reported earnings per share of $1.41.
Analysts had on average expected earnings per share of $1.11.
GM’s pre-tax earnings fell more than 11 percent to $2.3 billion from $2.6 billion.
GM has preferred shares in Peugeot from when it sold its German Opel unit to the French automaker in 2017. Lyft’s initial public offering was at the end of the first quarter.
(Reporting By Nick Carey)